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David Birnbaum

Comment: Holding Cambodia accountable for its actions

6 August 2013 | David Birnbaum

A fundamental difference between Cambodia and Bangladesh is that the Cambodian government and industry are held accountable for making the necessary improvements to factory working conditions. And this, says David Birnbaum, will ensure Cambodia moves up the economic ladder.... read more


Comment: Bangladesh factory inspection plans set to fail?

11 July 2013 | David Birnbaum

Major EU and North American brand importers and retailers have separately announced plans to inspect their supplier factories in Bangladesh and to offer funds and assistance with remedial action where required. But David Birnbaum believes that unless they inspect the entire industry, their efforts will fall short.... read more


Comment: What's the best way to raise standards in Bangladesh?

30 May 2013 | David Birnbaum

Three strategies have emerged among clothing brands and retailers trying to decide what steps to take to raise standards in factories in Bangladesh. But David Birnbaum believes the approach in which customers provide funds to upgrade factory structures is the worst option of all.... read more


Comment: Understanding China's success

20 May 2013 | David Birnbaum

China ranks number one as the world's largest garment exporter with a 38% global market share. Bangladesh ranks number two with a 5% market share. We all acknowledge that China dominates the global garment export market. But how did it get here, and what are the upcoming challenges? asks David Birnbaum.... read more


Comment: The crooks and conmen among us

7 May 2013 | David Birnbaum

Today, many if not most importers and retailers are making an honest effort to make Bangladesh a better place to work for customers, suppliers and workers alike. But recent events such as the collapse the Rana Plaza factory building have brought out some important truths, believes David Birnbaum.... read more


Comment: Burma in brief - a short garment industry study

19 March 2013 | David Birnbaum

Fresh from a visit to Burma/Myanmar, David Birnbaum is in no doubt that the local garment industry faces some serious challenges if it is to develop into a first-class garment exporting industry.... read more


Comment: Cambodia worker rights versus worker benefits

7 March 2013 | David Birnbaum

A recent report issued jointly by the Worker Rights Consortium and Stanford Law School claims that serious deficiencies exist in the International Labor Organization's (ILO) Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) programme. What is more surprising is that it has taken so long to reach this conclusion, says David Birnbaum.... read more


Comment: Crossing the line on ethical behaviour

21 January 2013 | David Birnbaum

The fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in Bangladesh last November was the result of at least one customer's decision that providing minimal working conditions and subsistence wages are not cost-effective. The challenge, now, is to find a solution, says David Birnbaum.... read more


Comment: Where has globalisation left the garment industry?

21 December 2012 | David Birnbaum

Globalisation has seen the garment industry evolve to such an extent that every country in the world is competent at exporting every type of garment, at every price level. Along the way, wages in the West have fallen and jobs disappeared, while in the developing East, workers have seen their wages rise and new jobs appear. But as David Birnbaum explains, the process has a momentum all of its own.... read more


Comment: The Trans-Pacific Partnership - Plan B

4 October 2012 | David Birnbaum

Earlier this year, David Birnbaum suggested multi-lateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks between the US and eight Pacific Rim nations provide an opportunity to change the way US garment-related free trade agreements are negotiated. Here he outlines his alternative Plan B.... read more


Comment: Bangladesh at a crossroads

25 September 2012 | David Birnbaum

The Bangladesh garment export industry has been built on the pillars of cheap labour and reliability. But the two are increasingly proving to be incompatible - and it is now time to bring all the stakeholders together - factory suppliers, customers, government and workers - to create a viable comprehensive and integrated solution, writes David Birnbaum.... read more


Comment: The decline of the US garment industry

21 August 2012 | David Birnbaum

The United States is home to the world's largest garment consuming country. Yet it has virtually no viable domestic garment making industry. David Birnbaum suggests the US Government might want to level the playing field by offering US garment producers the same benefits as suppliers located in countries with free trade agreements with the United States.... read more


Comment: Caught in the compliance trap

7 August 2012 | David Birnbaum

Compliance, while an excellent idea in theory, is fundamentally flawed, argues David Birnbaum. What was originally an honest effort to make the industry more socially responsible has resulted in a situation where neither the very worst factories are penalised nor the very best factories protected. Here he offers some solutions.... read more


Comment: Caught in the cost of labour trap

20 July 2012 | David Birnbaum

In the ongoing debate running on just-style about labour costs in Bangladesh, David Birnbaum asks why wages in the country remain so low?... read more


Comment: It's not about the cost of labour

4 July 2012 | David Birnbaum

The cost of labour is just one element that needs to be taken into account when it comes to evaluating supplier factories and countries. And, as David Birnbaum shows here, cost doesn't necessarily correlate with market share.... read more


Comment: Garment imports settle on strategic suppliers

27 June 2012 | David Birnbaum

The world's economic problems are still very much with us, but it now appears - looking at the latest US figures - that garment customers may have settled down to a new but stable order of strategic suppliers. David Birnbaum looks at the data.... read more


Comment: Product mix shifts hurt China's US exports

13 June 2012 | David Birnbaum

Last month David Birnbaum argued that China's economic system lies at the heart of its changing share of the US garment import market. Here he looks at how shifts in the product mix have also affected China's exports - including the move overseas of higher quality fashion goods.... read more


Comment: China and its place in a changing US market

30 May 2012 | David Birnbaum

China's share of the US garment import market has fallen - albeit at different rates - for the past two years. So what is the likelihood of its unit share rising once again? David Birnbaum believes China's economic system lies at the heart of the problem.... read more


Comment: TPP trade talks need a Plan B for garments

3 May 2012 | David Birnbaum

The multi-lateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks between the US and eight Pacific Rim nations provides the perfect opportunity to change the way US garment-related free trade agreements are negotiated, writes David Birnbaum.... read more


Comment: Strategies for success (Part V) - the problem with Gap

19 April 2012 | David Birnbaum

In his fifth, and final, article in a series looking at strategies to succeed in a period of industry decline, David Birnbaum explains why he believes US retailer Gap has been going consistently downhill for the past 10 years.... read more


Comment: Strategies for success (Part IV) - the supplier's road to failure

5 April 2012 | David Birnbaum

In this, the fourth in a series of articles looking at strategies to succeed in a period of industry decline, David Birnbaum looks at the obstacles facing garment factories and textile mills.... read more


Comment: Strategies for success (Part III) - the retailer's road to failure

23 March 2012 | David Birnbaum

In the third of a series of articles looking at strategies to succeed in a period of industry decline, David Birnbaum looks at the reasons why so many fashion brands and retailers are doomed to fail.... read more


Comment: Strategies for success (Part II) - determining the right strategy

23 February 2012 | David Birnbaum

In the second of two articles looking at strategies to succeed in a period of industry decline, David Birnbaum points out that the optimal strategy is based not only on what can be done but equally importantly, what cannot be done.... read more


Comment: Strategies for success (Part I) - core competencies

23 February 2012 | David Birnbaum

Today's garment factories are required to fit a new multi-dimensional model where core competencies beyond the manufacturing process help differentiate the top suppliers from the marginal ones. To operate successfully, factories and mills must radically alter the way they market their products, explains David Birnbaum.... read more


Comment: Perception is part of the Chinese apparel puzzle

7 February 2012 | David Birnbaum

2011 is shaping up to be the worst year for China in a decade. Full year figures have not yet been released, but in the 10 months ending 31 October 2011, China's US market share measured both in units and by value was down over 4% compared with the same period in 2010. The question, asks David Birnbaum, is why?... read more


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